Chapter 168: Hope of the Future (5)

There was no way it was a lie. There was no way that he would come into the middle of the crowd, unarmed, and give a speech while crying. They wanted to achieve the world that man was dreaming about. They wanted to live in that world and pass it onto their children afterwards.

“I also want the same dream as you.”

“I will also dream the same dream as you. I will achieve it with you.”

“We will all make it happen with you.”

“Me too…”

“I will too…”

The people rallied together as they said they would all join in to achieve Milton’s dream. He hadn’t planted decoys like Queen Leila had done before, nor had he manipulated the people’s opinion with thorough preparation. This was the result of Milton meeting them face to face, heart to heart. At that moment, Milton felt his whole body trembling. This was it. This was the role of those who occupied the position of a monarch; the role to present and show people the path forward. This was exactly what Milton had wanted a monarch to look like.

Even as Milton continued to tremble nonstop, a message popped up in front of him.

[The Monarch’s level has risen.]

[You have solved the national crisis by appealing to and changing public sentiment. Benefits are given.]

[The introduction of new ideas has brought a great change in the era. Benefits are given.]

The content of the message was a bit different from before. And even before Milton had looked at the status window, he had personally felt a change happening within him. 

‘What is… what is this feeling?’

The change wasn’t noticeable from the outside, but something had changed on the inside. He had felt his head getting clearer and he was able to see the incident from a wider angle, like he had taken a step backwards. Maybe it should be said he got a bit smarter than before? On top of that, Milton’s Aura got stronger than ever before and began to exude outwards.

“Is this…?”

Watching his Aura flowing down his body, Milton muttered to himself. 

“Huh?”

“What’s going on?”

“The Grand Duke is glowing?”

While the people were astonished, a man quickly charged forward on his horse as he shouted.

“It’s the Master’s Awakening! Don’t get close to the Grand Duke and step back!”

That horseman was none other than Duke Palan. He knew what was happening to Milton right now, after all, he himself had gone through it once before. It was the Awakening that happens when an Expert ascends to a Master. It took a stronger mental stimulation than it did physical training. Anger, joy, frustration, to be deeply moved, etc… Such mental stimulus broke down the barrier between body and mind and unified it. 

A Master wasn’t someone who had a greater Aura than an Expert, nor was it someone who had better swordsmanship. However, if you could eliminate the disconnect between physical and mental, and be able to control it perfectly for your purpose, then eventually, your skills will fully mature as you become better. That was the difference between an Expert and a Master. It was too difficult and imprecise to explain in words, but everyone who had reached that level at once all knew that feeling — this is what it means to be a Master. And now, Milton had finally reached that level.

Duke Palan was hurrying over in case anyone might touch and disturb Milton out of his current mental enlightenment. Thankfully, none of those who had heard Duke Palan touched Milton. Instead, they continued to look at Milton with a reverent gaze that went beyond simple respect as he continued to reach that impressive level in front of their eyes. By the time Duke Palan arrived, Milton had opened his eyes that he had lightly closed as he breathed softly.

“So it was like this…”

Now that he had risen, he finally understood. Nothing had made sense while he had been trying to level up… But now that he had, everything was so clear. It was something like this. It was difficult for him to put into words, but…

Everyone who had reached the level of a Master knew what Milton was feeling. The feeling of his Aura moving so naturally that it was incomparable to how it felt when he was an Expert. So natural that it felt like he was moving his hands and feet. Instead, it was baffling why he couldn’t have done this previously.

While Milton was going through this, Duke Palan approached him. 

“Congratulations.”

“Ah… yes.”

“Does it still feel awkward?”

“I feel a bit dazed.”

At those words, Duke Palan pulled out his sword and handed it over. 

“Then, why don’t you try it out and try to feel it?”

Milton took the sword and held it in his hand. When he looked around, he realized that everyone was looking at him with anticipation.

‘Shall I meet those expectations?’

Milton raised his sword high up into the sky and spoke.

“There is someone.”

At his unexpected words, the people around him looked confused. But as he continued to speak, they realized what he was saying.

“There is someone who dared to attack the innocent commoners, disguised themselves as slave traders, and created divisions within the country.

The audience listened to him as he continued.

“There is someone, someone who dared to incite anger and hatred by attacking the people’s representatives that Duke Palan had called with the intention of peace with a dirtied sword.”

The people around him nodded their heads. They had been influenced by Milton’s speech that if he said the sun was falling from the sky, they would believe it. 

“This is someone, someone who has spread hatred and malice in our country hoping that blood and sorrow will prevail.”

At those words, the people now sympathized with him and felt anger. They didn’t know who it was. But because of that someone, they had been angry and if something had gone wrong, countless people would have died bleeding.

“Maybe that someone is still here, watching this scene. Hidden in the crowd, disguised, or somewhere far away, watching us.”

At that moment, Milton spread this Aura onto the sword.

Pah!

Shining brightly as a torch, it was a golden Aura Blade. Compared to a regular Master’s blue and white Auras, Milton’s Aura was a brilliant gold. For the common people, that bright gold felt like it was the light of a lighthouse in the vast sea that led them to safety.

Milton shouted out for the last time. 

“I tell that someone, no matter what you do, we won’t be shaken. We will not collapse. We will stand together and fight!”

“Wahhhh!!”

“Hip hip hooray for Grand Duke Forrest!!”

“Long live the Lester Kingdom!!”

“Long live democracy!!”

The people roared their approval and Milton was reborn as an idol from it.

***

Crack.

His eyes were bloodshot as he clenched his teeth hard enough to break them. David was that ‘someone’ Milton had been talking about. He stared at Milton like he wanted to kill him.

“Whoo…. whoo…”

Did people say they were so angry that they couldn’t talk? That was exactly what David was feeling right now.

All of his plans were ruined. He had agitated the stupid commoners and had almost set them off. He had been convinced that the future only held raining blood and piling corpses for the North. But then… One person, just one person, had come forward and ruined everything.

“Milton… Forrest…”

Out of David’s mouth came a sound that was closer to a roaring beast. If he could kill a person with a hateful gaze, Milton would have been torn apart and killed. That’s how terrifying David’s gaze towards Milton was. 

***

David’s hatred had a deep psychological cause. It wasn’t simply that his planning had been ruined, but the fact that Milton’s speech had inspired and united the crowd bothered him greatly.

David had planted malice and hatred, but Milton had planted dreams and hopes. Not that David had been planning to do so, but it was something that he never could and he hated Milton for being able to do it. Milton was the complete opposite of himself. 

David was a psychopath who could only satisfy his desires in the dark shadows, but Milton was the light that shone brightly from high above. David couldn’t control his jealousy and hatred. It was something he couldn’t do. Regardless of whether he tried or not, fundamentally, David was a person who couldn’t do that. He knew that he was someone who was harmful to other human beings. 

But as long as he was human, David had a burdensome emotion that he couldn’t get rid of — loneliness. Whether good or evil, humans are creatures that cannot exist alone. That’s why David had vowed to call Siegfried his master for eternity when Siegfried had said he had a use for David. But it was just a master-servant relationship. 

It was impossible for David to reveal his feelings and sympathize with others. But Milton was getting what he desperately wanted but could never reach too easily. How could he not be jealous?

“I’ll kill you. I’ll…definitely kill you.”

From that day on, David developed a blind hatred towards Milton. 

***

“David failed?”

Siegfried spoke with a slightly surprised expression once he received a report of what happened in the Northern region.

“Yes, sir. There wasn’t a riot and it’s said that the public opinion in the Northern region is rapidly stabilizing.”

“That’s surprising. I never thought David would fail.”

This was unexpected for Siegfried. He knew that David was a poisonous creature made up of vulgarity and malice. When Siegfried had first discovered him, he had judged that David would be more useful alive than dead because he was so rare. Where else would he find a man who blindly hated humans? Not to mention, this monster was very cunning. And so, Siegfried had decided to tame him rather than to kill him and as a hunting dog, David was actually very useful. 

The uprising that happened after just three days in the Valence Kingdom had been David’s work. He was a monster who specialized in spreading the poison of hatred and anger amongst people. The reason Siegfried hadn’t pushed David further into the Lester Kingdom had been because he wanted to hide David’s existence until an opportune moment. It was self-evident that once David entered the Kingdom, a massive revolt would occur within the Lester Kingdom. Siegfried was confident that there was no one better than David in that field. After all, hadn’t it been David that instigated the riot until it had grown into 200,000 people? But how could such a riot settle down in an instant?

“Duke Palan doesn’t have that kind of ability. Did Queen Leila come out?”

The messenger who had been reporting to Siegfried responded.

“No, sir. It’s said that Milton Forrest was the one who came out.”

“Milton? He shouldn’t be useful unless he’s on the battlefield?”

“But it’s true, sir. He appeared alone in front of the angry mob and calmed them down with a speech.”

“…Impossible.”

Siegfried couldn’t believe it. He directly took the report from the messenger and read it. There was a description of how Milton appeared, what he said, and at the end, that he had become a Master and produced an Aura Blade. But what Siegfried paid attention to was…

“Democracy? Is that a government administration system that gives people the right to participate?”

Siegfried was more focused on the basic concept of democracy rather than on the fact that Milton had become a Master.

‘This is surprising…’

Siegfried’s expression became serious. Until now, he had judged Milton to be his adversary on the battlefield, as someone who was only able to perform well on the battlefield. In the beginning, he hadn’t even considered Milton as an opponent, but after several battles, he had to admit it. Milton Forrest was the only person who had caused him to struggle like that on the battlefield so far.

However, what if the speech was true?

‘Could it be that he dreams the same thing as me?’

Siegfried was a soldier, but he considered himself a monarch. He had the ambition to stand tall at the highest position in the world during the confusing era. Many people in this world used the title of king, and there was one emperor in the Andrews Empire. But Siegfried’s goal was to bring all of them down to their knees and become the only absolute monarch in the world. In that sense, Siegfried had realized the depth of Milton’s speech. He realized that Milton wasn’t just a regular ruler of a country, but someone who was ambitious enough to want to determine the direction their era would take. 

“I see… so it’s like that.”

Siegfried’s eyes turned harsh. It was like that of a beast who realized that there was another who had entered his territory. Siegfried turned to speak to his men. 

“Send a carrier pigeon to David ordering him to return.”

“David sent a message that he still has something else to try, so he would do his best, sir.”

“It’s no use. And there’s no need.”

Siegfried crumpled the report in his hand.

‘If he’s a hero fighting for supremacy in the same era as me, then there’s no way he’ll lose to David.’

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